Us Politics

No date set for Netanyahu’s address to US Congress, Israel says

FILE PHOTO: Opening ceremony marking Israel's national Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -No date has been set for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, his office and congressional sources said on Monday, following reports that the leader’s speech had been set for June 13.

Without citing a source, a Punchbowl News reporter said on X.com that Netanyahu would address a meeting of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate on June 13. Politico and Bloomberg later reported the same date, citing unnamed sources.

That would bring the Israeli premier to Washington when U.S. President Joe Biden, who has clashed with Netanyahu over the Gaza war, is expected to be in Puglia, Italy, for a June 13 to 15 G7 leaders’ summit. The U.S. is Israel’s main ally and provides billions of dollars in aid.

The Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement that a date for his address to Congress had yet to be set, but that it would not take place on June 13 due to a Jewish holiday.

Addresses to joint meetings of Congress by foreign leaders are a rare honor generally reserved for the closest U.S. allies or major world figures. Netanyahu has already given three such addresses, most recently in 2015.

This speech would make Netanyahu the first foreign leader to address joint meetings of Congress four times. He is currently tied at three with Britain’s wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill.

The Gaza war was precipitated by a Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7 that killed around 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies. Palestinian health authorities estimate more than 36,280 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel attacked the enclave.

Biden’s support for Israel in its war against Hamas has emerged as a political liability for the president, particularly among young Democrats on the left, as he runs for re-election this year.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Patricia Zengerle and Jasper Ward; Editing by Rami Ayyub and Josie Kao)

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